Hi Scott. In my opinion, any iPad that uses the apple pencil would be the best bet. Much better than the wacom Intuos. I own the ipad pro 10.5″ and also a wacom bamboo. There is no competition to the apple pencil response of 9ms with the ipadOS. The only competition would be the wacom Cintiq for me. Really, in all the intense research I’ve done, there is really no competition. There are several variants of the iPad that are compatible with the apple pencil like the 10.5″ ipad air which clearly rivals my 10.5″ 2017 ipad pro. There is even the new ipad which is cheaper than the air and I think even the ipad mini uses apple pencil now.
You really don’t need the 2nd gen apple pencil that only works with the latest ipad Pro. It just charges wirelessly and you can switch between eraser and pencil with a double tap. Procreate lets you switch between eraser and pencil with one swipe. I have never had to switch pencil to eraser that often anyways. Letting go off of the 2nd gen thing could probably relieve a few hundred dollars.
Also Procreate 5 is coming out this month, the new installment of Procreate. It’s going to be more powerful than the desktop version of Photoshop, for digital painting in particular. All the photoshop brushes will work in Procreate 5.
I’d love to know your eventual decision. An ipad would totally kill competition in my opinion. Since she is a student, the 10.5 air would be my recommendation for portability. That’s the reason I chose a 10.5″ model over the 12.9″ one. All the best!